On Tuesday, the Grigg-Lewis Foundation proudly announced a pledge of $4 million to the Lockport Ice Arena and Sports Center, or LIASC, to go toward the construction of a two-pad ice arena in downtown Lockport.
"It was through the efforts of the Grigg-Lewis Foundation and State Senator Maziarz that we were able to take an idea, construction of a state-of-the-art hockey arena in Lockport, and get to this point," said LIASC President John Ottaviano. "Their partnership allowed our board to bring in experts to craft a business plan, secure the ideal downtown site, and create a real and implementable design for our vision. For the Grigg-Lewis Foundation to go a step further and commit this level of funding is amazing. I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in us."
Grigg-Lewis board President Christa Caldwell stated, "While this is the largest donation the foundation has ever made, it closely reflects the interest that our founder, Henrietta Grigg Lewis, had for the youth of our community."
The $14 million project involves the construction of an 84,000-square-foot facility at 34 Chestnut St. In addition to two sheets of ice and ample seating, the facility will house a pro shop, performance training center, and restaurant, while providing additional tenant opportunities. According to the business plan, the project creates a recreational hub by meeting the tremendous need for ice time in the region, while becoming a community asset. It is anticipated that the facility will be well positioned to host multiple hockey tournaments on an annual basis and bring thousands of people to local hotels, shops and restaurants.
The LIASC board was formed in 2009 to see the project come to fruition and to create new critical mass in the heart of Niagara County. According to Lockport Mayor Michael Tucker, "This project will propel our city forward. It's incredibly bold for the foundation to step up like this, and it shows their full understanding of how the arena can positively shape Lockport and its surroundings for decades to come."
Ottaviano added, "We have been talking to various funding sources for years now and everybody is very interested in participating, but leery of being the first money in. This commitment by the Grigg-Lewis Foundation is the key domino that will allow us to secure a blend of private financing, tax credits, energy incentives, and community pledges to complete the project."
The LIASC board expects to see the Sports Center's doors open within 12 to 14 months.